October Slow Sewing - and What I Found Out.

October  has been a strange sort of month - both on the personal front and the sewing front.   The personal front is not that interesting to write about - just that our transition from a secure contract to full self employment has been a little tedious.  So I settled on a simple hand sewn skirt for the month of October, thinking that slow sewing Alabama Chanin style would sooth my soul.

I found a picture that rather appealed to me as it is geometric.  I happen to like geometric patterns.


The randomness of the shapes I thought would work well with cotton jersey, because it is not easy to cut straight.  Some easy hand stitching, nice and relaxing, and voila, a nice me made Alabama Chanin  inspired skirt.

I notice that my inspiration design had stencilled stripes applied to the background fabric.  So I decided to draw on some stripes with a wax dye crayon. I then ironed them to fix the dye (with of course paper on top of the wax to protect the iron and sop up residue).

Then I set to work stitching on shapes.  A nice cuppa, some hand sewing, should be bliss.

Only it wasn't.  I soon got very, very, bored.  I have always like hand sewing and embroidery, but this was just too basic for me.  However, I thought this was just a mood due to life stresses. So I thought that I should proceed and a stitched  quite a few patches on the front of the skirt:

At this stage I thought I should hold it up and admire my handiwork and think how great this will look as a casual skirt.

So I held it up (in front of a mirror of course, so I could see what it looked like) and tried to like it, I really did.  I tried hard.

Only I did not like it.  I did not like the rustic, first time I have ever attempted hand sewing look.  I know this look works for some people, but I just did not like it.   I think it just looked too handhewn and casual for me.

I thought about this for a while, and decided that yes, I do like the Alabama Chanin  look, but really, I prefer a much more polished look.  I think I would like to revisit a hand worked technique on cotton jersey, but in a much more complex and refined way. I am quite capable of that - beading and lots of work. And to only attempt to do a small amount every day to relax, and not as an activity in itself.    This sort of slow but quick handhewn sewing is just not me.   I like my needlework and embroidery to be detailed and exquisite.  Even if it takes ages to finish.  So I shall revisit the Alabama Chanin techniques outlined  in her book "Studio Sewing and Design" at some future point in time and aim for something a little more detailed.  I also like her takes on  classic garments - things like jackets for instance, that are hand sewn and sometimes embroidered.

I also had to think about my personal style.  I think with sewing, we can get swayed by all the wonderful ideas floating around the sewing community.  And it is good to try a few of them, because you can get stuck in a bit of a sewing and style rut.  But sometimes, we just stray away from our core likes, and forget what really suits us.

And really, what suits me?  I think  at heart I am a classic style type.  And I really should make sure that I stick to a classic base for all my sewing.   I can push the edges, so long as I don't go over the sides in the future!

That's it for now, back with my next mishap story (yes, there is another!) soon...

Sarah Liz


  1. It's good to try something sometimes to know you don't like it as much as you might think you would. I find I like some things on others that I think I like to try and then know it's not for me. On a positive I like the colours you have chosen.

  2. Sarahliz..
    Best wishes on you and hubbys move to self employment..
    I love the Alabama Chanin looks.. But , not on my self.. I too, like to do embroidery and hand work.. But that is just too much for me.. As you said, we all have out likes/dislikes..
    Hope you have a great week.
    ps on another note, You inspired me with your last pants sewing.. Really liked the pattern, Could not find it in the store, so I ordered one on line. It just came in , and I intend to work on it next week, Thankyou for always sharing your makes [and the pattern numbers]

  3. You are so right! It's easy to stay only in your comfort zone AND it's so easy to get wrapped up in all the cool awesome projects we see.

    It's good that you realized it and cut your losses so you wouldn't waste time.

  4. Sometimes we have to be taken off our beaten path only to realize that just "ordinary and comfortable" is just fine. Sounds like you have alot going on, best wishes.

  5. Great point!! It is so easy to be swayed by what so many other talented ladies are sewing for their tastes and sometimes sort of 'forget' what our own personal style is. I know I am quite guilty of this too. Hoping the personal front settles into the new norm. :)

  6. There is a lot of inspiration to be found on the internet and it is easy sometimes to get caught in the hype. I was readng a blogger who sewed lots of lovely dresses but admitted to not wearing them which I admit I don't really understand.

  7. What an interesting experiment Sarah Liz. I think I am also a classic type of person, although I try, I really do, to be a bit 'cool' or 'Bohemian'. I suspect my heart belongs to Chanel, and I'd sit for hours sewing tiny beads onto lace and be perfectly happy :)

  8. I often think I would love making a Alabama Chanin pattern but I don't think I would wear it. I like it on others, but I don't think I can pull off that look. I only sew what I'm wearing and I like to keep it that way!

  9. What's important is that you tried something new....weren't too happy but at least you tested it out. Let things settle and when you're in a better frame of mind maybe you can try again.

  10. Thank you for sharing the interesting post, Sarah! I often think just as you do.

  11. I'm the same way. Lol I get carried away with all the great inspirational projects floating around. I'm a classical girl myself. Love your work. Stay true to your style. :D

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  13. I really enjoyed reading about this - I feel the same way about admiring certain looks but not being sure when I try them myself. I tried to learn some basic sashiko embroidery after accidentally bleaching a patch on some jeans, but it just looked too "homemade". Maybe I just need to get better at it? I like your idea of revisiting the techniques and taking it slow. And agree wholeheartedly with trying new things but knowing our own style.

  14. I can completely relate to this post. I see so many wonderful handsewn garments on Pinterest but they just don't look right on me. Perhaps they only look good on models in catalogues or on the runway! :-)

  15. If its just not working, sometimes its best to just admit it, try as we might to fight it

  16. I understand where you're coming from. I like your analogy. Too many of the things I make just don't suit me/fit my lifestyle. Still, it's that balance between settling into a rut and straying too far from the edge. We need some mistakes. Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all...


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